I have not, for several years now, been a regular contributor to the Forum and whilst those who have known of me for a while may understand the reasons for that it is not something that I propose to dwell on. I have, however, kept a sort of watching brief ands made small inputs where and when I thought it might be useful. I have recently started to take a new look at my collection of watches, having recently recovered them from the bank, with a view to updating the information that was collated with each watch at the time they were added to the collection. In a lot of cases that is now up to a couple of decades ago and I am aware of the fact that the spread and depth of knowledge about early makers etc is much greater these days, in no small part due to the efforts expended in these forums. I had one of those light bulb moments, as I was considering how to tackle my project, when it dawned upon me that there are folks here who are better at almost every research methodology than I am and in many cases have better resources to hand, to whit, more books, more contacts and simply more knowledge. So, why don't I just post the watches here, one by one, until everyone is thoroughly fed up of me at least. I will lay before you the information that I have and a few photographs and see what happens. So, with your indulgence that is what I propose to do, and start right now with Watch No 1 in the collection: SILVER PAIR CASED CYLINDER ESCAPEMENT - JOHN HOLMES, LONDON Full Plate English Cylinder Escapement Case Maker's Mark T.P Case Maker: Thomas Pepper Staining Lane London Mentioned in the 1773 Working Casemakers Report or: Thomas Perry, Shoe Lane, London Case: Silver pair case. Inner and outer with same marks. Hallmarks: Lion Passant Crowned Leopard's Head - London R 1772/73 The back of the inner case is engraved with the name: R West There is a long thin pendant with stirrup bow. The hinges and button are good. Movement: Dust cover with raised portion over balance cock and window for register of Tompion style regulator with adjuster and winding square visible. The dust cover is engraved: Jn Holmes, Strand, London 6175. Removing the dust cover reveals a fusee driven, full plate watch of standard design and construction - but very finely made. The cock is beautifully pierced with acanthus leaf decoration with 'grotesque’ at the junction with the fairly broad foot. The acanthus leaf pattern extends to the foot which is held in place with a large, blued screw. There is a diamond end stone. The plate surrounding the silvered regulator index is also engraved and has the 'pointing finger' indicator. The Barrel bridge is engraved: John Holmes, Strand, London. 617. the 5 is obscured by minor damage. There are square pillars and fusee, without maintaining power. The barrel has worm gear mainspring set up. The dial has an inner chapter of roman numerals with minutes marked in intervals of 5 around the outside. The are beetle and poker (gold?) hands. There is a bull’s eye glass. The Maker: John Holmes is recorded in Baillie’s as working from 1761 to 1815 although other references indicate that he died in Cumbria in 1802. John Holmes has the following listing in Britten: '156 Strand, near Somerset House. He seems to have been one among the leading mechanicians, and when a turret clock at Greenwich Hospital was destroyed by fire in 1779 was given the order for a new one, in connection with the design of which he sought the advice of Smeaton and Ludlam; a gold watch by him is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge; it belonged to William Pitt and bears the Pitt crest, a heron holding an anchor in its right claw; the Wetherfield collection contained two mahogany long case clocks of his manufacture, one a particularly choice example of Chippendale dating from about 1770, and another about 20 years later; he was one of the experts appointed by the select committee of the House of Commons in 1791 to report on Mudge's timekeeper. George Yonge succeeded him in 1798' Rees' Cyclopedia of Clocks, Watches & Chronographs (PP29-30) for more information. Apprenticed to Henry Hindley in York, Holmes was a cousin of the renowned civil engineer John Smeaton and was himself elected to the Society of Civil Engineers in 1772. The letters from Ludlam and Smeaton are visible on Google Books and offer advice in great detail.